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Massive use of forest land for wind project: CSE

Thursday, 4 July 2013 - 2:31am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
Experts blame lack of strict regulations for the situation

While wind energy in India is rapidly growing over last decade, a study by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on wind power scenario in the country states that the pace of forest land diversion for wind project has increased manifold in last seven years. However, India has very little green norms to reduce its impact on environment. The report also mentions that total 3932 hectares of forest land has been allotted for wind energy since 1980, of which 88 percent of land has been allotted in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

A conference on ‘Green Norms for Wind energy’ to discuss environmental fallouts of wind power development was organised by CSE on Wednesday where the study report by CSE was released.

Deputy director general Chandra Bhushan, chief conservator of forest, Anurag Choudhary, president of strategic business development at Suzlon energy limited, Chintan Shah and others participated at the event.

While releasing the report, Chandra Bhushan said, “ By the end of March 2013, the installed capacity of wind power in India was 19,051 megawatt (MW), which is fifth largest in the world.The 12th five year plan aims to install 15,000 MW between 2012 and 2017, which will be almost double the present capacity. But on the other hand India is the only country which has very little green norms to manage the environmental fallouts.”

At present, most of the installed wind power in the country is in Southern states namely Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and western states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Now the wind energy developers are setting up most of their project in forest areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Chandra said, “ Out of the total forest land diverted for wind project, 88 per cent of the land has been diverted only in Karnataka and Maharashtra with 57 percent of land in Karnataka and 31 percent land in Maharashtra have been diverted for wind projects.”

“After the survey, we have come to the conclusion that if a wind power project is set up close to human settlement, it may cause significant health impacts,” Chandra said.  

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